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Inland Revenue Dept receives 4,831 returned cheques!

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The Inland Revenue Department had received 4,831 return cheques worth of Rs.2.4 billion (2,488,003,615 rupees) as of June 30, out of which 3,817 cheques were more than 3 years old, it was revealed during a recent Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) hearing.

It has also been revealed that the value of those three-year-old cheques is Rs.1,429,356,750.

This was disclosed when the Inland Revenue Department was summoned before COPA on the day before yesterday (28) under the Chairmanship of MP Kabir Hashim to review the progress of implementing recommendations given by COPA held on March 24, 2021 and look into whether the Department is capable of achieving the tax revenue proposed in the 2023 Budget.

The committee questioned the lack of legal action in this regard and the officers present stated that their department does not have the authority to take legal action. The Chairman of COPA pointed out that this is a criminal offence and the necessary legal proceedings in this regard should be implemented soon.

The Chairman of the COPA recommended that a report be given to the Committee within a month regarding the legal action taken in this regard after consultation with the Attorney General’s Department.

The COPA revealed that the total arrears of taxes, penalties and interest due to the Inland Revenue Department as at June 30, 2022 is Rs. 773,957,856,618 (Rs.773 billion).

It was disclosed that an amount of Rs. 201,400,855,198 (Rs.201 billion) has been identified as income that can be collected without any legal concern and that Rs. 572,557,001,420 (Rs.572 billion) has been identified as income that has been temporarily suspended due to certain reasons.

It was also pointed out by the Auditor General that this amount has been identified as the total arrears of tax to be collected under both the RAMIS and Legacy systems. Furthermore, there was a long discussion about the failure to collect 201 billion rupees which is available as revenue from this tax arrears.

Accordingly, the present officials pointed out that recovery of this money on an installment basis has already started.

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Colombo air show and CADE 2024 exhibition postponed to next year

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The Colombo Air Show and Defence Exhibition (CADE 2024), initially set to take place from May 29 to June 2 at Galle Face and Colombo Port City, has been postponed to next year, according to the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).

The SLAF stated that the decision to reschedule the event was made in response to multiple requests from international partners, defence industry stakeholders, and foreign Air Forces. This postponement aims to enhance participation and provide a more diverse experience for spectators.

The rescheduled event will now be held from February 26 to March 2, 2025, coinciding with the 74th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

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 Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrives in Sri Lanka

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The Global Peace Ambassador and Spiritual Leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon (18) for a three-day visit. He was welcomed at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake by State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon and Eastern Province Governor Senthil Thondaman.

During his stay from May 18 to 20, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will participate in an event titled ‘Ekamuthuva: An Evening of Music, Meditation and Wisdom,’ which will be held at Taj Samudra on May 19. Renowned for his global humanitarian efforts and as a peace envoy, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is also an Indian yoga guru and the founder of ‘Transcendental Meditation’.

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President leaves for Indonesia

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has left for Indonesia this morning (18) to attend the 10th World Water Forum High-Level Meeting in Bali, at the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The 10th World Water Forum is being held from May 18th to 20th in Bali, Indonesia.

This significant gathering, themed “Water for Shared Prosperity,” will convene global leaders to address pressing issues related to water management and sustainability.

President Wickremesinghe left for Indonesia on Saturday, following an invitation from Indonesian President Joko Widodo, underscoring Sri Lanka’s commitment to international cooperation on water-related challenges.

Scheduled to deliver a keynote address on May 20th, President Wickremesinghe will articulate Sri Lanka’s perspective on achieving equitable access to water resources for all, the President’s Media Division said.

During the forum, President Wickremesinghe is expected to engage in bilateral discussions, including a meeting with President Widodo, to explore avenues for collaborative action in water resource management.

His delegation, comprising senior officials from the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reflects Sri Lanka’s comprehensive approach to addressing global water issues.

President Wickremesinghe’s participation underscores Sri Lanka’s proactive role in advancing sustainable solutions to ensure water security, not only domestically but also on the global stage, the PMD said.

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